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Ipswich: Insurance giant Direct Line comes under fire from neighbours over cigarette butts

06:28 26 June 2014


Smokers' rubbish outside Direct Line's offices in Ipswich.


One of the largest insurance companies in Ipswich has come under attack from its neighbours over the state of its smoking area and the mess caused by stressed employees desperate for a fag.


Direct Line Insurance has a large office at Giles Place on Princes’ Street. At the back of the office, in Coytes Gardens, there is a small piece of land designated as a “smoking area” for staff.

There are smoking bins for dog-ends on the wall, but one of these is broken – and it is clear that many staff prefer to leave their stubs on the ground.

The cigarette ends have been blown around the cobbles of Coytes Gardens, which is one of the oldest streets in the town centre.

Now a local resident has written to the company on behalf of herself and other residents in the area after approaches to the management at the building failed to get a significant improvement.

Her letter says: “As you will know I have contacted you on several occasions regarding the appalling state of the designated ‘smoking area’ at the Direct Line Group premises located at Giles Place.”

She adds: “We would like this area to become a non-smoking zone (as they have in parts of London). In the summer, we struggle to open our windows and French doors due to the volume of smokers and noise from the employees of the DLG premises.”

Although the smoking area itself is on Direct Line property, Ipswich council is responsible for keeping the road clean and after we contacted them they sent street cleaners to clear the cigarette butts from the cobbles.

A spokesman for the company said: “Direct Line Group are aware of the concerns by local residents regarding the smoking area of our Princes Street office.

“We have been liaising with the local council regarding this matter and have their full support in remedying this situation including the installation of an agreed smoking enclosure.

“Unfortunately while we clean the area on a regular basis, it has been the target for vandalism and other anti-social behaviour, a matter that is being dealt with by the relevant authorities.”

He said the company had purchased three bins that are more robust and would be installed over the coming days and that cleaning patrols had been increased.



  • I am so pleased this has been been brought to the fore. I often walked past this location and was disgusted by how untidy it looked. Maybe Direct Line should employ someone to tidy th eplace up as they are the cause of the mess. It really gives a bad impression of Ipswich. Other large employers manage to keep their areas clean, maybe they have high standards?

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    My view

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

  • As a smoker i can see both sides but as said previously there are problems with the Homeless (Drunks, Drug Users) who vandalise the bins and drop the buts on the floor i for one do not drop buts i even have a portable ashtray. And why shouldn't staff have a cigarette break. Also it is not only Direct Line Employees who smoke there a lot of people from the various offices in Princes Street use that area so i feel this is quite harsh blaming Direct Line directly. And anyone who works in a call centre will know it is a high stress job most days so let them have a smoke i say the area was there before the flats.

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    Julie Warden

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • I work at Direct Line (and a smoker) let me assure you we do NOT drop our cigarette butts on the floor- we get the local homeless breaking into the bins, which drops them all onto the ground- then they choose which ones to take and leave the rest. Not really much else we can do. Also, we don't take extra breaks for our cigarettes, we only go outside for a smoke during our allocated break times (whether that's the 15min ones or our hour lunch break) so no working hours being lost. As for the people in the flats complaining about the mess, I agree it's frustrating and unsightly- but complaining about noise from us so they can't open their windows? Maybe don't live in a town centre location opposite a large office...

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    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • If you are caught not picking up your litter in the street.. it is a fine of £80 on the spot, if you are caught not picking up your dog's poo.. it can be a £2,000 fine... but Direct Line it is just a few more bins... shows the difference.. the bigger you are.. the more you get away with.

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    Neil Nield

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • Simple solution. Install more ash trays.

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    chas winfield

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • Never understood why employers allow their staff to take time off for a smoke. Other employees might be addicted to drugs or alcholol but would they be allowed regular breaks during the day to shoot up, or nip down the pub for a pint? How many hours are lost to compamies like Direct Line by smoking breaks? It certainly isn't a good advert for any employer to see half their workforces standing idliy outside smoking, while those non smokers have to cover for their absence.

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    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • They should be more responsible. I walked past their smoking area once before and noticed that the cigarette butt bin was on fire and none of the other workers was doing anything about it. Luckily I had a bottle of water to put out the smoke and flames.

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    Andrew Berry

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • It just goes to show what inconsiderate sods most smokers are. And they moan on the rare occasions they get prosecuted for littering!

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    Thursday, June 26, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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